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Mobile technologies and authentic learning in the primary school classroom

Burden, Kevin; Maher, Damian


Damian Maher


Sarah Younie

Marilyn Leask


The use of mobile technologies, often referred to as m-learning, is increasing in many primary schools across the developed and developing world. In the developed world mobile devices such as iPads, tablets and smartphones are being used whilst in some parts of the developing world XO computers are being rolled out. Young people are also using mobile devices in greater numbers in their personal lives. In the United States for example, research conducted by Pew Research Centre found that in 2012, 37% of all youth aged between 12-17 years had smart phones which is up from just 23% in 2011. Approximately 25% own a tablet device (Madden, et al, 2013). Younger children are also increasingly being provided with smart phones and tablets as well. The significance of using mobile technologies lies in the new and unique affordances they offer learners beyond what is possible with traditional ‘tethered’ technologies such as the desktop computer (Traxler, 2007). “Mobile devices open up new opportunities for independent investigations, practical fieldwork, professional updating and on-the-spot access to knowledge” (Kukulska-Hulme and Traxler, 2005, p. 26). The use of mobile devices allows pupils to learn in innovative and exciting ways. One of the different ways that mobile devices can support learning is the ability to provide for authentic learning experiences which includes access to realistic settings and activities. The ability to connect to experts via mobile technologies also provides for learning experiences that are more authentic. The focus of this chapter is to examine both literature (theory) and practice associated with the innovative use of mobile technologies in primary/elementary schools and other associated educational settings. To begin, a brief outline of the literature is presented. Next, models that have been developed as a way of conceptualising mobile learning are examined. A case study on the use of mobile technologies is presented and then the practical and pedagogical considerations associated with implementing mobile technologies into the classroom are explored. In each of the four sections a task is provided to help you develop your understanding around the focus.


Burden, K., & Maher, D. (2014). Mobile technologies and authentic learning in the primary school classroom. In S. Younie, M. Leask, & K. Burden (Eds.), Teaching and Learning with ICT in the Primary School (171-182). (2nd ed.). London: Routledge

Online Publication Date Sep 15, 2014
Publication Date Sep 11, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 19, 2016
Journal Teaching and learning with ICT in the primary school
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 171-182
Edition 2nd ed.
Book Title Teaching and Learning with ICT in the Primary School
Chapter Number 15
ISBN 9781317667605; 9781138783157
Keywords Mobile technologies, M-learning
Public URL
Contract Date Oct 19, 2016


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